News Column

Emily Bergl: Character actor belts it out

July 25, 2013

YellowBrix

July 25--You've probably seen her on television or the big screen -- from the telekinetic Rachel in "The Rage: Carrie 2," a feisty doctor on the Lifetime movie "The Governor's Wife" or the wacko Beth on "Desperate Housewives" as well as "Southland" and "Men in Trees," among her many credits. But Emily Bergl also is an established singer. And on Thursday, Bergl's cabaret show, "Until the Real Thing Comes Along" will premiere at Feinstein's at the Nikko in San Francisco.

"I consider myself a character actor, and anyone who's seen my work on television or on Broadway knows my characters are quite different from one another and often, well, just plain different," says Bergl, 38, whose most recent Broadway credit was as Mae in "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof." "Unlike other singers, who have one 'onstage persona,' I'm an actor first, so I bring many of my characters into my show."

Bergl, who was born in Britain but moved to Illinois as a young girl, takes her musical cue from the Great American Songbook as well as the works of artists such as Johnny Cash, Madonna and Lady Gaga.

"In my new show I'll be singing Cole Porter as a Russian heiress, Tracy Chapman as a teenager from Tennessee, among others," she says. "Cabaret is such a wonderful opportunity for me because I can show everything I can do in one show."

Emily Bergl: 8 p.m. Thursday (July 25)-Friday, 7 p.m. Saturday. $30-$55. Feinstein's at the Nikko, 222 Mason St., S.F. (866) 777-8932. www.ticketweb.com.

Leba Hertz is The San Francisco Chronicle's arts and entertainment editor. E-mail: lhertz@sfchronicle.com. Twitter: @lhertz

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